Sociology explores the intersection of individual biography and history by relating the life of the individual to the larger social institutions that shape their life experiences and outcomes. From the analysis of passing encounters between individuals in the street to the investigation of broad-scale social change, the student of sociology studies the subtle and complex ways in which our individual lives interact with the collective experiences of others. From its birth in the middle of the nineteenth century to the present, the perspectives and methods of sociology have become commonplace. Important insights by sociological theorists are the cornerstones not only of sociology but of other social sciences as well.
To study sociology is, in the best tradition of the liberal arts, to free oneself to explore the familiar anew – to make the familiar unfamiliar – and by so doing enrich ourselves and those around us.